Nothing but negotiation

The Gap Partnership

'Straw issues' are a crucial aspect of business negotiations

Firms should identify minor issues they are willing to concede

26 October 2010

Companies should learn how to use straw issues during business negotiations, according to an expert.

Dr Jim Anderson, a professional sales negotiator, has advised firms to identify less-important topics, known as straw issues, before talks begin.

These issues can then be presented to their counterparts alongside more important ones - giving the illusion that all the subjects mentioned are equally vital.

Dr Anderson claimed that the other side will therefore be satisfied that they have forced their rival to make a concession even when it may be a minor 'victory'.

He wrote on "The other side will feel an immense sense of satisfaction when they 'win' on the straw issue. It will be a trophy that the other side will be able to show to their management.

"Additionally, the negotiator on the other side will feel a sense of relief just because another issue is off of the table now - they are that much closer to reaching a deal." 

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